Artemis: Technical issues make Nasa stop Moon rocket launch

Jets fly over the launch pad

T-38 planes, a fixture of astronaut training at Nasa, fly over the SLS on launch pad 39B at Kennedy

Di American space agency don don call off launch of di new era Moon rocket launch wey suppose happun today.

Nasa launch director, Charles Blackwell-Thompson, announce “call scrub for di day.”

Di launch director cancel di plan to Artemis sake of engine bleed issue.

Di Space Launch System (SLS) rocket dey for “stable configuration”, and engineers go now work on gathering informate to see wetin go wrong.

Di rocket bin suppose launch a short time ago, for 08:33 Florida time (13:33 BST).

Di next available opportunity for launch na 2 September, Derrol Nail of Nasa tok, although im add say e depend on weda dem fix di engine bleed issue.

Nasa begin countdown to launch

Earlier on Monday Nasa bin begin count down to di lift-off of im giant new Moon rocket – di Space Launch System.

SLS na di most powerful vehicle ever developed by Nasa, and go be di foundation of im Artemis project wey aim to put pipo back on di lunar surface after a 50-year absence.

Dem set di time of di rocket to go up from di Kennedy Space Centre at 08:33 local time (12:33 GMT; 13:33 BST) on Monday.

Im work na to force one test capsule, wey dem call Orion, far from Earth.

Dis spacecraft go go round di Moon on one big arc before returning home to splashdown for di Pacific Ocean in six weeks time.

Orion no get any crew or staff inside for dis demonstration but assuming all di hardware work as dem plan am, astronauts go climb inside for future series of ever more complex missions, starting from 2024.

“Everytin we dey do wit dis Artemis I flight, we dey look through di lens of wetin we fit prove out and wetin we fit demonstrate wey go buy down risk for the Artemis II crewed mission,” Nasa astronaut Randy Bresnik, explain.

Graphic of SLS


US space agency get many opportunities inside next week to fly SLS-Orion, but e go wan to take di option immediately, wey dey im front.

Di weather for Florida get as e be for dis time of di year, wit frequent electrical storms wey dey pass over di spaceport.

In fact, di electrical storm don strike di pad lightning towers several times dis few days.

Early morning na wen di conditions dey usually calm pass, and dis make Monday a great day to fly.

“Basically, di beginning of di launch window, or just afta 08:30 for morning, get 80% chance of beta weather,” meteorologist Melody Lovin tok.

However, if technical issues push di launch to di back of di two-hour window wey dem bin don fist arrange, di possibility go drop to 60%, becos e possible say rain fit interfere. Di rocket no dey permited to move inside di rain.

Morelle byline


Artemis na Apollo for new generation?

For 1969, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin take dia first small steps on di Moon, dem usher in golden era space exploration.

Di Apollo programme transform how we see our planet and ourselves.

Now, 50 years later, di Moon dey human beings eye again.

And for pipo wey bin no witness di Apollo missions for demsef, di hope be say Artemis go ginger new generation.

Di new missions go dey different.

Nasa dey plan to land di first woman and first person of colour on di Moon – showing say space exploration dey open to everyone.

And di lunar surface na just di start.

Nasa ambition even far pass dis one, im eye dey on Mars.

And dis go truly be giant rise to experience.

Up to 200,000 pipo dey expected to line up for di beaches and roads around Kennedy.

Camper vans don begin betting on di best positions on Sunday.

Di take off suppose dey spectacular.

SLS go pull 39.1 meganewtons (8.8 million pounds) of thrust up from di pad.

Dat na close to 15% more dan di Saturn V rockets wey send Apollo astronauts on dia way to di Moon for di 1960s and 70s.

Put another way, di SLS engines fit power di equivalent of almost 60 Concorde supersonic jets on take-off.

Lightning at KSC


“Dis rocket dey bigger, louder and more impressive dan any wey you don see before,” Lorna Kenna, vice president of the Jacobs Space Operations Group, a major contractor for Kennedy, tok.

“E no get anytin wey reach like feeling di sound – not just to hear am, but feeling as e wash over you.”

Di mission main purpose go actually come for di very end.

Engineers dey most concerned to see say Orion heat shield fit cope wit di extreme temperatures wey e go encounter as e re-entry Earth atmosphere.

Orion go come back very fast – at 38,000km/h (24,000mph), or 32 times di speed of sound.

“Even di reinforced carbon-carbon wey dey protect di shuttle bin only dey good for around 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1,600C),” Mike Hawes, Orion programme manager for aerospace manufacturer Lockheed Martin, tok.

“Now, we dey come in at more dan 4,000 degrees (2,200C). We don go back to di Apollo ablative material wey dme dey call Avcoat. E dey in blocks wit gap filler, and to test dis one na high priority.”

Graphic Orion


Dis flight na big moment not just for Nasa, but for di European Space Agency.

Na im provide di service module for Orion.

Dis na di back section wey go push di capsule through space.

Na in-kind contribution wey Europe dey hope say go leadim kontri men to dey included for future journeys to di surface of di Moon.

Missions through to Artemis IX currently dey under planning.

By dat stage, pipo suppose don dey live dia and travelling vehicles or motor dem for don dey Moon for astronauts to use.

But ultimately, di eye wey dem take dey look Artemis na as proving ground to carry pipo go Mars.

“Na President Obama set di timetable. Im say 2033,” Nasa Administrator Bill Nelson remember.

“Each goment wey succeed di oda don support di programme and di realistic timeframe, wey dem inform me now na di 2030s, maybe 2040.”